Dunne goal gives U’s three points in WalesJames Dunne’s first goal for the U’s gave Cambridge United a vital three points in Sky Bet League Two, in a 1-0 win over Newport County at Rodney Parade.
The midfielder was on hand to prod home Luke Berry’s well-judged pass to register the defining moment in the clash and move United within three points of the play-offs with five games to go.
The U’s lined up with two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Accrington Stanley, as Ben Williamson and Harrison Dunk returned in place of Zeli Ismail and Ryan Haynes.
Newport edged the opening encounters of the match, with striker Lenell John-Lewis proving to be a rea handful for centre back pairing Josh Coulson and Leon Legge, who were forced into a series of early challenges.
With their offence slightly flat during the early stages of the game, the U’s quickly cranked up the pressure on the hosts after 20 minutes, and Coulson and Ryan Ledson would surely have both notched were it not for a point blank block from Scott Boden and a fine save by Newport keeper Joe Day in quick succession.
Max Clark too had an opportunity to test the County shot stopper but pushed his attempt wide of the mark, after Ledson had cleverly picked out the Hull City youngster 18 yards out.
Jimmy Spencer was presented with the best chance of the half on 34 minutes, when a well-worked United move ended with the striker skewing his shot marginally wide from the angle. Whilst Ledson also drilled an attempt over the Day’s cross bar shortly before the break, the U’s though finishing the half the stronger of the two sides.
Shaun Derry’s men were quick to find their feet in the second half, and Jimmy Spencer was fractions away from breaking the deadlock, when he ran on to James Dunne’s long ball before hitting the inside of the post from a shot with the outside of his right boot.
The best chance of the match fell into the path of John-Lewis ten minutes after half time, as the Newport striker pounced on a loose ball before driving at the U’s goal and shooting over from 12 yards out.
However, it was to be the U’s who would take the lead, when Luke Berry crafted out a superb ball in behind the Newport defence for Dunne to poke past Joe Day for his first goal in Cambridge United colours.
Shaun Derry’s side proceeded to defend their lead manfully, with only a curling free kick from substitute Souleymane Coulibaly coming close to levelling for the hosts.
Newport County: Day, Holmes, Barrow (Ayina, 68 mins), Jones (Donacien, 77 mins), Davies, Elito, John-Lewis, Hughes (Coulibaly, 80 mins), Boden, Rodman, Byrne
Cambridge United: Norris, Furlong, Legge, Coulson, Dunk, Berry, Dunne, Ledson, Clark, Spencer, Williamson (Simpson, 90 mins)
Attendance: 2,330 (185 U’s fans)